Wednesday, June 3, 2009
The people at Thomson's Garden Center know us, because we spell our name wrong, with a P, and because we're the bird people. So while we were prowling around the roses and begonias three staff members came up to make sure we'd seen their special birds.
First was a robin who'd built her nest on a stack of trellises. It was clear that nobody was going to be taking any trellises until she was done raising her babies.
Resolute is one word I'd use on her--trying to melt into a background that isn't there, staunchly sitting her eggs as the weekend garden center traffic swirls all around her.
But the best was yet to come. "Go look at the bee balm," one employee said, and I headed for its tall paired leaves.
Nobody was going to be buying any bee balm for awhile, either. Cats prowl all around the garden center, but somehow none of them had keyed into this ingenious nesting place. The staff didn't know what kind of bird had built the nest, only that it was little and brown.
A glance upward confirmed Mom's identity as a song sparrow, and we told the cashier and she wrote it down so she could remember it. What mattered was not that they could name the birds, but that they all cared enough to protect the nests.
It wouldn't be long before the song sparrows left; they're about 6 days old here, and would only stay in the nest another five or so.
Inside, another point of local pride: gazing balls made right here in Marietta by the Silver Globe Manufacturing Company. The tiny factory is a real trip--gazing balls all over the old cement block roof, and a huge pile of busted gazing balls out back. The workers climb up on top of it and eat their lunch, in between hand-blowing glass balls--a southern Ohio and West Virginia tradition, that somehow has not yet been outsourced to China. Well, you'll find lots of cheap foreign gazing balls, but the original and best ones are made by Silver Globe. They're always coming out with new colors. Here's Thomson's display. Makes your eyes roll back in your head.
I was proud of our hometown garden center, even if they spell their name wrong.